Back in the day, I used to do everything in my power not to cook.
Bagged iceburg lettuce with dried out carrot shreds? I can learn to love it.
Microwave dinners with rubber chicken? A bit time consuming (4-5 mins!), but doable.
Skillet Sensations? Gourmet, romantic meal for two (Eric would make these for me in university! swoon)
Grilled cheese? Eric’s fav. ‘meal’ that I made. I’m not sure what this means.
There was a lot of love in those meals, but not much…quality. I feared the unknown with cooking, so I never really ventured out of my comfort zone.
Plus, I had crap to do. Always crap to do. Books to read. Classes to skip. MSN to chat on. Bars to hop. Heels to break in. Thanks to my sweet tooth I always enjoyed baking, but cooking never called out to me like the Betty Crocker Cake Mix in the pantry.
I was the girl who used to mix cake mix with milk and eat the raw batter straight up out of a mug. I wouldn’t make this stuff up. It was awesome.
It’s funny though, when I’m really challenged, a fire is lit inside me! Eating a vegan diet forced me to learn how to cook, enjoy the process (not just end result), and use my creativity whenever possible. When I first stopped eating animal products I lived off fake meat like veggie dogs, but that got old quickly and left me yearning for unprocessed meals made from scratch. Vegan cuisine opened my eyes to many different types of foods and ingredients and ignited a passion for cooking, dare I say, as much as baking.
If I can go from eating Lean Cuisines and bagged salad to cooking meals made from scratch, I think there is hope for every fearful cook out there! The more I cook, the less intimidated I feel; especially when it comes to cooking for others.
Which brings me to our family gathering on Sunday celebrating Eric’s birthday!
Mary (left) and Brendon are visiting us from Ireland. Brendon is my mother-in-law Margaret’s brother (one of her 10 brothers!)
Every time Brendon curses he says, “Pardon my Irish”
Love this crazy man. heheh.
Let’s see, I made…Vegan Cheeze Burgers.
I made a spin-off of Our Perfect Veggie Burger using Daiya cheese.
Changes I made to the original recipe:
- I used one entire 15-oz can black beans instead of 1 cup of beans
- I used 1.5 cups Daiya cheese instead of 1 cup grated carrot
- I used 1/4 cup chopped almonds instead of 1/3 cup
The Vegan Cheeze Burgers turned out just how I was hoping! Cheezy and delish.
I pre-baked the burgers for about 20 minutes in the oven and when Eric BBQ’d the meat, he added the veggie burgers on for the last 5-10 minutes of grilling.
I also sautéed some Crimini mushrooms to go with the burgers…my all-time fav burger topping! With a sprinkle of Herbamare of course.
Next, I made an old favourite- Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts! Oh yes, I broke out a can of pumpkin. I can’t be tamed.
Do any of you remember when I went through a vegan doughnut baking phase back in 2009? I was obsessed with making these things!
I fell off the wagon for a couple years, but it was fun to make them again and use those doughnut pans that have been collecting dust. The mini and regular pans are from Golda’s Kitchen.
A pumpkin doughnut isn’t a pumpkin doughnut until you cover it in melted Earth Balance and cinnamon sugar! True fact.
I tested them again with icing sugar glaze, but the Earth Balance and cinnamon sugar mixture was by far the best! The Earth Balance added a bit of a savoury, buttery quality which was a nice contrast with the sugar.
Drooling inevitable. Eating inevitable. Breakfast? Obviously.
Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Spiced Doughnuts
Adapted from Maple Glazed Pumpkin Spiced Glonuts and Cuisine at Home via Pastry Brush.
Yield: 24 mini or 12 regular-sized doughnuts
- 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (white vinegar may work)
- 6 tbsp non-dairy milk
- 1/2 cup fresh or canned pureed pumpkin
- 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (or white)
- 3 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp lightly packed brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Earth Balance (or other non-dairy butter substitute), melted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp ginger, + 1/4 tsp nutmeg (or 1.75 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance (or other butter sub), melted (approx estimate only)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two mini doughnut pans or two regular sized doughnut pans with Earth Balance (or other butter substitute).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the vinegar, milk, pumpkin, sugar, applesauce, brown sugar (sift if clumpy), and melted Earth Balance (or other butter sub).
3. Sift in in the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt, and flours). Mix until just combined. I didn’t sift as I was lazy.
4. Using a ‘zip-lock’ baggie or pastry bag, spoon the batter into the bag and then secure it with the zip lock or rubber band. Twist the bag slightly and then cut off a hole at the corner to ‘pipe’ out the batter. Pipe the dough around the circle and gently flatten down with slightly wet fingers to smooth. Repeat.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F or until they gently spring back when touched. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before carefully using a butter knife to remove. Place on cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.
6. Cinnamon Sugar: Melt Earth Balance in a small bowl and dip the cooled doughnuts into butter one at a time. Transfer the dipped doughnut into a bag with the cinnamon sugar and shake until coated thoroughly. Doughnuts keep for 2-3 days.
These doughnuts were a hit at the party! Everyone seemed to love them.
Of course, you can leave the cinnamon sugar off, but I highly recommend it. ;)
This is the post that never ends…
Next up, my all-time favourite vegan chocolate cupcake recipe made another appearance! Everyone always requests these when we have a family get together. I added a little POM juice and almond extract instead of almond milk and vanilla to give the frosting a bit of fruity flavour. It was decent, but I definitely prefer my Spiced Buttercream over this one.
Then I made my go-to Pico de Gallo and Guacamole. Went fast!
Appetizers (with a cheese plate from Ewa and Dave)
Finally, I made baked potato CHIPS!
Rosemary, Olive oil, and sea salt flavour. I was going to make my favourite Salt and Vinegar chips, but I wasn’t sure if everyone else enjoyed S&V, so I opted for the safe flavour. If I was making them for just myself, I would have made the salt & vinegar by a landslide! They really do taste like salt & vinegar chips.
The rosemary-olive oil-sea salt chips were the biggest hit of the night and there was not a chip to be found after we made our round.
Rosemary Olive Oil Sea Salt Chips
- 10 medium potatoes (estimate only)
- 4-5 tbsp minced rosemary
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Sea salt (I used Herbamare) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Slice potatoes into thin 1/8-1/4 inch rounds (I did not peel first).
3. In a large bowl, coat sliced potatoes in 2 tbsp olive oil, 4-5 tbsp minced fresh rosemary, and salt & pepper.
4. Bake for 30 minutes at 400F. After 30 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10-20 minutes (watch closely) until crispy and golden. Season to taste (they were better with even more Herbamare, don’t be shy!).
For my Salt and Vinegar chips, see this post.
My mother-in-law made her famous chicken pasta (with a vegan one for me), Dave & Ewa brought appetizers, and Mary and Gerry brought a salad. We had so much great food.
My plate: Vegan Cheeze burger with tomato, cuke, avocado, rosemary chips, sautéed mushrooms, salad, and I went back for some vegan pasta after I cleared my plate.
For dessert, I had a doughnut, half a cupcake, and lots of fresh cherries.
Our niece Gabriela helped with Eric’s birthday candles. :)
After gifts, we Skyped with some family in Ireland!
And then Brendon broke out the shots! and more shots. and more shots. ;) I could not partake as the Baby Guinness shots weren’t vegan. I was a bit bummed about that because I love doing shots (I’m weird)…so I drank my wine like a champ instead.
Eric and I currently have an invitation to go to Ireland and stay with Mary and Brendon for as long as we want. They even said they’d give us a key to their house!
(I doubled checked this statement Monday morning after the alcohol wore off and it still stands.) Whew.
Ireland, here we come?
Those pumpkin spice doughnuts are a yummy-looking fall preview! I look forward to pumpkin every year =)
Make sure you take lots of pics *when* you go to Ireland (an offer like that can’t be turned down!)…I’ll be taking that trip vicariously through you, haha!
The first time I made donuts in my mini donut pan, it never occured to me how on earth to get the batter in it without making a giant mess. Thank goodness for plastic baggies! LOL. Can’t wait to make these – pumpkin baking in my oven makes my kitchen smell like fall, and I”m SO ready for fall!!
hold the phone! those look amazing! must make some!! xo
Your posts are just… so much fun. Always. Or at least smile-inducing!
I’m still terribly afraid of cooking for anyone else… I seem to keep telling myself that I have strange tastebuds and so no one else will like what I cook. I know it’s silly and probably not true… but it’s still hard to get over it!
If those cinnamon sugar doughnuts taste anything like those cinnamon sugar soft pretzels that you can get from Auntie Anne’s, then that recipe is going to the top of my “recipe bucket list”, I swear.
those sound good!! I can’t wait to make the pumpkin garlic knots again… http://ohsheglows.com/2010/10/21/itty-bitty-garlic-pumpkin-knots/
You’ve outdone yourself. Those doughnuts look amazing. Printed recipe. Off to kitchen!!!!
Well this just convinced me I need a doughnut pan pronto :)
Looks like you had so much fun with family and friends!
OMG best meals ever!?!?! I think YES! Everything looks AHMAZING!!!!
I love family gatherings! My side of the family is from Newfoundland so it’s always a blast. Of course we only get to see them every once in a while since we live on the opposite coast now. I am craving pumpkin now…
OMG my mouth is watering over those donuts!!! Anything with pumpkin makes me happy!
What a ridiculously beautiful & scruptious looking spead Ange! I am seriously impressed. Everything is homemade?! You rock my world !
On ‘excuse my Irish’: That had me seriously lol-ing ;)
haha every second line is ‘excuse my Irish’
What a feast! One thing I want to do is start throwing more dinner parties… I know after a few it’ll get easier, plus they are just so much fun! I’m excited for another one of your chip recipes, although salt + vinegar would be my first choice too!
Oh man, everything sounds (and looks) so amazing!! :P
What a party!!! I love the mini donuts…they are seriously adorable and now I’m craving all things pumpkin!
Wow. I don’t think I can go another day without a donut pan. And I am definitely starting to pine for fall flavors, so pumpkin is sounding heavenly right now!
Do the chips get soggy? or do they stay crispy? I want to make them for a picnic but I have to make them the day before because otherwise I would be too rushed on the day. Would this work?
I’m not sure as they didn’t last long! They were gone in 30 mins…lol.
Amazing post Angela! There isn’t a time of year when pumpkin and nutmeg aren’t welcome in my belly. I’m off sugar (and on apple cider vinegar) due to a recurring scalp FUNgus I picked up in Ghana. Have you tried coconut butter instead of the margarine?
Nope I havent tried that, but goodluck if you do!
What. A. Great. Time. !
Haha I think I have to agree with you when you said you’re weird for liking shots. I hate shots with a fiery passion! :P
BUT I think we’re in agreement on the deliciousness of those donuts. I’m tempted to run out and buy a donut pan right now so that I can make them!
I second the “amazing post!” I am absolutely in the transition from “immediate gratification” meals (that frankly aren’t gratifying) to properly cooking! Right now I’m making a recipe here or there and it still seems like a big deal to get the ingredients and actually do it. I’m at home with my parents because a tornado hit my rental house and even they don’t really cook and get surprised when I attempt something new. I’m moving into an apartment this week and get to (!) restock my new kitchen from scratch. I *am* going to learn to cook fresh, healthy food for myself. To determination and regaining my “freedom”! :D
Thanks for your Ally! Im sorry to hear about the rental house. Goodluck with the new place and happy cooking!
What a fun time! I am slowly working on becoming a cook. I can cook, but I don’t really consider myself a “cook” because I’m still trying to expand on what currently seems like a limited amount of items. I want to be able to cook without needing a recipe in front of me! I am just starting to be able to not need a recipe for meals that I have made a million times. I just like having the backup right in front of me so I can be sure I’m doing it right!
I know this is a horrible comparison but those donuts reminded me of the litte mini cinnamon sugar donuts that you can get at the fair! I used to love those! In addition, donuts plus pumpkin?! Sounds like a definite fall winner to me! :)
Looks like so much fun! The doughnuts and chips look absolutely amazing. I have to try them!!
What a fun celebration!
Ireland would be amazing, you should take them up on that offer for sure :)
What a blast of a night! I love taking shots too hahah, it’s always fun. Interesting that there’s alcohol that isn’t completely vegan, I had no idea.
Looks like you guys had a GREAT time. I’ve been avoiding bringing pumpkin into my kitchen. I’m not ready to accept that Fall is just around the corner. Great job on the doughnuts. I’ve been trying to make gluten-free doughnuts for awhile now with coconut flour. I will be successful, one of these days. And when I am, I will add the cinnamon sugar. Mmm like the mini doughnuts at the Calgary Stampede. Man those are delicious!
Sounds like a great night.. and the food looks amazing!
I think I love you more right now…..holy cow donuts!!
pumpkin….a touch of fall..sigh.. pumpkin can sure make fall seem exciting!
I can’t get over all the glorious food in one post. WOW!!!
The potato chips alone would be enough for my hubs to do anything I’d ever want him to do. That is HIS dream food right there.
My dream food…ahhh, well, between a chocolate cupcake and donuts slathered in butter and cinnamon sugar…yes, I have hit nirvana.
And you vegan donut making craze of 09. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was *this close* to buying donut pans back then. I think you officially pushed me over the edge with these.
I love how EASY they seem…unlike making real bread with yeast and rising and kneading…that scares me! These…excite me. Hugely :)
Gorg photography too!
I dream about going to Ireland. I will go…thinking Christmas next year maybe.
Your party posts always inspire me. I’m expecially thrilled about using the piping bag for the baked doughnuts because I’ve always used a spoon and fingers and made a giant mess!
FABULOUS. Totally a carnivore but we eat lots of vegetarian every week too. Could the donuts be piped out onto a cookie sheet? *desperate*
Yes they could be, but the hole in the middle would fill in when baking. Still would be yummy though!
Yum! I just bought a mini and regular donut pan but haven’t made anything in them yet. This looks great! Can’t wait to give ’em a try.
Waw, those doughnuts are amazing!
Ugh, I’ve had way too much sugar today (*tons* of Nutella, a Cadbury Milk Chocolate McFlurry, a king sized Snickers bar and I just had some Belgian waffle) – I can’t even look at the donuts now. But if I weren’t feeling ill, I’m sure they’d taste great!
Thanks for the donut recipe! I’m in love with making donuts too. These are a nice addition to my repertoire.
Oh, if you come to Ireland will you give some cookery classes?!
And did you mean to write Brendan? Much more Irish!!
Yes Im sure that is how it’s written!
I LOVE YOU!! oh my gosh I have been craving mini donuts like craaaaaazy! Everyone is walking around with them now that it’s summer, & now….now I’m gonna go by a donut pan :D <3
YIKES! Andrea, please tell me I’ve won the Blendtec! My blender just bit the dust. My teeny tiny apartment is all smokey now :/
Angela, you’re killing me! You make my eats look like bland tofu! All I can say is that you are FABULOUS!
I love Irish accents! I just listened to an entire book on tape, where the narrator had an Irish accent. The book was horrible, but I stuck with it for the beautiful, lilting cadence of the narration! haha
Me too I wish I had an Irish accent!
Mmmmmm!!! Omgnnesssss I loooove pumpkin stuff and I’m glad that Fall is already here Kind of! At least in my mind and yours :P I love how you squeezed the better in there–I wouldn’t have thought of that. :D
yummy!! I always get hungry after reading your blog :) Did you announce the winner of the Blendtec yet?!
Oh Yum! Those donuts look so good and perfect for the fall! I love pumpkin flavor!
oh my lord. Can i PLEASE come live with you?!? Everything looks mouth-watering. I need to try those veggie burgers, yum!
Wow, could the pumpkin donuts look any more scrumptious?! I think not. I will be making these once I pick up a donut pan from the store. Angela, do these freeze well? Would you suggest waiting to roll them in Earth Balance, cinnamon, and sugar until after they are out of the freezer?
You must have read my mind. I bought some donut pans while in the USA – and was planning on making my first batch this weekend!!!!!
All of these photos make it look like you had a very successful cooking day indeed! Bravo!
Mmmmm donuts!! I need a donut pan! I love me some cinnamon-sugar topped donuts
Oh my! I have got to make those doughnuts. They look amazing as well as all other other food. Thank you for inspiring me to cook!
I was always a baker, too – hated the cooking. Then I started clean eating and I love the whole process now! Tomorrow I’m off to buy a doughnut pan!